The records of American Union Lodge No. 1 from 1825 to 1843 represent a great interruption in the normal affairs of a Masonic Lodge, and the minutes of the Secretary contain only abbreviated reports of the Lodge affairs, or nothing at all. One bad sign was the lack of representation at sessions of the Grand Lodge in 1826, 1827 and 1828, though it was represented by Bro. James Bowen at the Grand Communication in 1829. In 1830 and 1831 however, it was again not represented. In the 1831 Proceedings of Grand Lodge a list of fifteen delinquent ~ is published, with the name of American Union included. Brief sessions of the Lodge are however reported by the Secretary as follows:
For 1827, February 6, March 13, April 10, May 8 and 19 July 3, August 7, November 27 and December 27.
For 1828, January 1 and 29, February 28, August 19, September 23, October 21 and 25, December 16, 23 and 27.
For 1829, January 13.
For 1830, June 15 and 24.
From 1830 to 1841, a period of 12 years,
excepting for the two meetings in June, 1830, American Union Lodge
was to; all intents and purposes, a dead institution. In a report
by Brother W. B. Hubbard in 1842* he says: "Of Lodges within
the State formerly having Charters and having ceased to exist,
without any known hopes of their resuscitation, the following
appear upon the books:" Then follows the names and numbers
of 46 Lodges.
*Proc. Grand Lodge of Ohio, 1808-1847, inclusive, p. 384.
The Masonic expose' of William Morgan in 1826, at this point should receive brief consideration, in view of its effects on Freemasonry in North America. It will be very appropriate at this point to call attention to the fact that what today is termed a Masonic exposé in America had its inception in England, where in 1723, what was designated "A Mason's Examination," was published in a journal known as The Flying Post. This of course was known as a public confession of the secrets of Freemasonry. Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry gives a list of 30 such publications * appearing in Europe between 1723 and 1825, mostly British in origin. As a rule these were in pamphlet or book form, and many of them contained illustrations. The author of this history in 1927 purchased a copy of "Jachin and Boaz," published in London in 1767. This first appeared in 1762, and up to 1813 there were 26 editions published. An eminent English Masonic scholar told the writer that when this copy came out, that it was used by Lodge members as a means of committing the work, and was not thought of as an exposé.
In 1826, a man named William Morgan, then living at Batavia, New York, was understood to be preparing for a printer named Miller, an exposé of Freemasonry. This created much local disturbance among the members of the Craft, and resulted in efforts to prevent anything of the sort. Morgan was arrested for debt in July and August, but was in each case soon released from jail. In September he was arrested for stealing a shirt and cravat, but discharged. However, soon after that he was arrested for debt. The money was provided for meeting this obligation, and Morgan was released. That same day the statement is that he was taken in hand by several men, who disappeared with him in a coach. Morgan was never seen again, and various theories have accounted for his disappearance. One is that he was taken out on Lake Ontario and drowned, and his body is said to have been washed up on the shore. Mrs. Morgan identified the body, but the evidence was not entirely satisfactory to many, while later examination proved it to be the body of a man named Munro. Following the disappearance of Morgan, his pardner Miller published "Morgan's Freemasonry Exposed and Explained" in 1826.
*Vol. II, 1929, pp.347-348.
A large amount of literature has been published on this subject, of which two books may well be listed here: AWilliam Morgan, or Political Anti-Masonry, its Rise, Growth and Decadence,@ by Rob Morris, L. L. D., 1884, pp. 398; and AThe Strange Disappearance of William Morgan,@ by Thomas A Knight, 1932, pp. 302. Published by the author, Brechsville, Ohio.
Morgan=s disappearance and the publication of the exposé created a sensation in America, and from this resulted the development of what became know as the Anti-Masonic movement. By 1832 it is rated that about 140 newspapers of magazines were Anti-Masonic. The main idea was to crush out Freemasonry, and on all sides the Lodge was regarded as a most questionable institution, and many of its members were shown violence. This resulted in the closing of a large number of Lodges, and American Union became a victim of the furor against Freemasonry, and hence the closed door. According to Mackey,* in 1826, not a Masonic Lodge existed in Vermont. Ohio did not suffer so badly, but the situation of Lodge membership became serious. The following Ohio figures are gleaned from the Grand Proceedings. In 1826 Grand Lodge reported 48 Lodges listed at the annual communication, 56 in 1827, 58 in 1828, 44 in 1829, 57 in 1830, after which a steady decline from 42 in 1831 to 17 in 1837. Here was the lowest point in the number of Lodges answering roll call at Grand Lodge. Then from year to year the number of Lodges returning back in standing, up to 1842, increased to 35, with 10 also under dispensation. In the 1843 Grand Lodge Proceedings, a list of 103 Lodges was given that had at one time been in good standing, but at this time 62 if these were defunct, and 49 reported at Grand Lodge. Thus one may appreciate the fact that American Union Lodge was not alone in this difficulty.
The resumption of Labor by American Union
Lodge first received attention in 1843, in the annual address
of M. W. Grand Master W. B. Thrall before Grand Lodge, which is
*Encyclopedia of Freemasonry 1929, Vol. II, 681.
"During the past summer I had occasion to visit Marietta, and had an interview with several of the Brethren in regard to the resuscitation of the Lodge in that place. From the feeling that was manifested, I entertained strong hopes that this venerable Lodge, so long honored upon your records, would again have resumed their Masonic labors; and in expressing my disappointment that such a reorganization has not taken place, I am sure that I but express the common sentiment of the fraternity of Ohio. There is no reason whatever why the Lodge at Marietta should not again be the first in respectability and usefulness, as it is first in antiquity, upon the calendar of Grand Lodge; and I trust that you will receive, at your present session, an application from the Brethren at Marietta for authority to that effect."
An application to resume labor by American Union Lodge in 1843, was presented as follows at annual session of the Grand Lodge of Ohio by Bro. W. B. Hubbard.
"Resolved, that American Union Lodge No. 1 be authorized to resume its labors at Marietta; and that they report their proceedings to the next Communication of Grand Lodge. 2, That said Lodge be discharged from its dues during the time its labors were suspended."
This subject was referred to the Committee on Charters and Dispensations, for its consideration, as a result of which the following report was presented to Grand Lodge:
"This committee has considered the
application referred to them, of sundry Masons in Marietta, heretofore
members of American Union Lodge No. 1, praying authority to reorganize
under their former Charter; and being satisfied that the interests
of Masonry will be promoted by the granting of the prayer of the
petitioners, the committee approve of the object and action of
their Brethren of Marietta in the premises. The committee recommend
the adoption of the following resolution, viz.: 1 and 2 relate
to other Lodges. "3, That the Brethren of American Union
Lodge No. 1 be authorized to resume work." Signed by
W. B. Thrall,
A. D. Bigelow.
On motion of Brother Hubbard, the following
resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, that the Charter heretofore issued to American Union Lodge No. 1, and the jewels and furniture, if any, now in the possession of the Grand Lodge, be delivered to Brother Beach, to take to that Lodge."
This completed the action of Grand Lodge at the 1843 session as relates to American Union Lodge, and thus conditions were established which made it possible for the Lodge to resume labor under the official sanction and endorsement of Grand Lodge. American Union Lodge, however, was slow to recover its original form and activity. The Lodge was not represented at the 1844 session of Grand Lodge, which to say the least was to be regretted. At the 1845 session, the Lodge was reported present at Grand Lodge by the committee on credentials. At this same session a xesolution was presented to renew the Charter of American Union Lodge No. 1, which was adopted.
A violation of Masonic law was charged against the Lodge in 1845. The following resolution was presented, which was referred to the Committee on Grievances:
"Resolved, That American Union Lodge No. 1 be required to give their reasons for making Masons residing in the village of Plymouth and its vicinity, when Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 37 is the nearest Lodge to said village of Plymouth, situated in the same county."
The committee on grievances gave the matter suitable consideration, after a hearing from members of the Lodge, and made this report to Grand Lodge, which was adopted and approved.
"The committee reported that they have
had the subject contained in the resolution under consideration,
and find that American Union Lodge No. 1 has acted in direct conflict
with the 15th article of the rules and regulations for the government
of Lodges in Ohio. Your Committee, however, believes that American
Union Lodge No. 1 proceeded partly from misapprehension, believing
no doubt that the facilities for traveling were to govern them,
instead of a reference to distance. Your committee, however, are
of opinion that distance alone should be the rule for the government
of Lodges so situated. All of which is respectfully submitted.
J. L. Yattier A. Luce
N. H. Starbuck S. L. Shaw"
J. S. B. Frazier
This report no doubt was a reasonable interpretation, corrected the irregularity of American Union Lodge, and impressed on its administration the necessity whenever possible of being guided by Masonic law.
The first visit of a Grand Lecturer to Anierican
Union Lodge No. 1, was secured through correspondence with Brother
Samuel Reed, who held this position with much efficient service.
He visited the Lodge on April 6, 1846, where he made a most favorable impression. The Lodge extended to him a vote of thanks "for his labors during his recent visit to this Lodge, and that we highly approve of his mode of working and manner of givhig instruction, and we most cordially recommend him to the Fraternity, as calculated to be eminently useful, not only in producing uniformity in work, but also in elevating the tone of morals among Masons."
Brevities recorded 1851 to 1859.
A great famine in Ireland brought forth a call for help from that country, so the members of the Lodge interested themselves, and raised fifty dollars which were sent to the starving poor of that country. Some of the Brethren also sent shipments of corn to Zanesville Masons, from which point it was forwarded to the coast for export.
The day for Lodge meeting, was up for consideration on December 8, 1851, and after discussion it was moved and seconded that the day be changed from Monday to Tuesday previous to full moon.
The purchase of goods and chattels was proposed to the Odd Fellows on December 8, 1851, but the deal was not then consummated. On March 2, 1852, a committee of three was appointed to confer with Odd Fellows relative to purchasing the furniture and fixtures in their room now occupied by this Lodge; and also procure on the most reasonable terms a room suitable for Lodge use the ensuing year or longer. Lodge approved proceedings of the committee appointed to purchase Lodge fixtures of Odd Fellows, and authorized said committee to execute a note to said Odd Fellows for $80.00 for six months.
A warning against intoxication was the mission of a Committee of three appointed to wait on three Brethren, who were cautioned against the too free use of intoxicating drinks, and reminded that as members of this Lodge such a course must not be persisted in. This was a matter of record March 2, 1852.
American Union Lodge for many years had repeated occasion to hale Brethren before it and stand trial for intoxication. The Lodge was very strict in its supervision of the drink habit among its members, and from time to time for many years individuals were suspended or expelled for drunkenness. On August 7, 1854, a Brother stood trial for habitual drunkenness, and on October 2 was found guilty and expelled.
Relics of value the property of American Union Lodge were quite often traced as in illegal possession. On January 9, 1854, the following resolution was presented by Brother I. B. Ward, and approved and adopted.
"Whereas, Anselm T. Nye of this place has in his possession certain papers, etc., of value which formerly belonged to American Union Lodge No. 1, and which would be of much interest and importance to us, Therefore, Resolved, That Bros. B. Soule, M. J. Morse and T. I. Westgate be appointed a committee to wait on A. T. Nye, Esq., and obtain if possible all such papers, relics, etc. of old American Union No. 1." On February 6 the committee asked for more time, which was granted. Later records were obtained from Mr. Nye.
Some improvements in Lodge equipment were authorized on February 6, 1854. The Stewards were ordered to dispose of four lamps, and procure eight candlesticks in their stead, and also twelve pairs of white gloves for use in Lodge. The mode of balloting being changed, the Stewards were ordered to procure 100 marbles, and I. C. Paxton was authorized to procure a ballot box. On February 13 the Stewards were ordered to buy a box of Star candles. Thus it becomes evident that the candle was to supplant the oil lamp at the Altar; the use of white gloves for the twelve Fellow Crafts became a reality; and a new ballot box, with a collection of marbles, provided the essentials for a more up-to-date voting medium.
Progress did not end here however, because
on January 29, 1855, it was, "Resolved, That the ballot box
be altered so as to have but one hole in which to deposit the
ballot. That the ballot be put in one end of the drawer, and when
the Brother wishes to vote he can choose his ballot and deposit
The gift of a Holy Bible from the Daughters of Temperance, was recorded by the Secretary among the February 6, 1854, notes. In view of the stand of American Union Lodge on the subject of Temperance, as expressed on page 210, this gift may perhaps be regarded as a reward of merit.
The construction of a Masonic Hall owned by the Lodge, first took place in 1854. On March 13, a Committee on Hall, was instructed to procure and rent a hall. Apparently this was not easily found, as the committee on May 8 reported renting the hall then in use for six months more. On July 10, the Hall Committee was instructed to act jointly with American Union Royal Arch Chapter, in the "construction of our New Hall, and especially the Ante Room, and fitting up generally the rooms." On October 2 the Lodge appropriated $200, toward furnishing New Hall. On December 4 record is made of a vote of thanks to the Ladies for sewing carpet for the building.
On March 26, 1866, the subject of procuring a new hall, or the repair of the present one was raised. A committee of three was appointed, that reported to the Lodge that the third story of Messrs. Buells' new building, "27 feet wide and 81 feet long, with cross partition and gas pipe could be rented for $200. a year." They reported having offered $150. but the same was not accepted. On June 25 the committee was directed to go on and fit up the present Lodge room in such manner as they shall think proper. The committee was then discharged. Strange to say, on August 20th, a committee of three was appointed "to devise some feasible plan for building a hall for the use of this Lodge." On September 24 the committee reported progress.
The change from one degree to another in
the sessions of American Union Lodge, was a very common affair,
and the records all through the years makes this apparent. There
is nothing strange in this so long as it conforms to Masonic law.
For many years however, in the early history of this Lodge, on
occasion unusual shifts in degree work took place, that today
impossible in a properly conducted Lodge. For example, according to the minutes, on February 26, 1855, American Union Lodge opened in the Master Mason degree; then reverted to the Fellow Craft Degree; next reverted to Entered Apprentice degree; then reverted to Master
Mason degree. But again the Fellow Craft was opened; and finally closed with Master Mason. That would appear about as far as a Lodge could go, even under the most favorable circumstances.
The printing of a new edition of the By-Laws was provided for July 10, 1854, and the committee in charge was instructed to report any amendments to the same. At the June 1st meeting it was reported that 200 copies had been printed. The previous print of these laws was that of 1819. The long break between 1830 and 1843, during which time the Lodge was not in session, explains why nothing had been done in the meantime in printing until 1854. Copies of this 1854 edition may be extant, but thus far have not come to the attention of the Historian. he
Early records and old relics of American Union Lodge, that had strayed from the fold received much attention, especially in the last half of the nineteenth century. Interesting items of research herewith follow.
On March 13, 1854, Brother Trevor was appointed on a committee "to procure old books and papers of old American Union Lodge No. 1." On October 18, 1858, a motion was made, "that a committee be appointed to communicate with our representative in Grand Lodge on the subject of the old; records of American Union Lodge No. 1." After discussion this was amended, by instructing the Secretary to introduce the subject, "and endeavor to get legal possession of those records." Nothing is recorded in the minutes to indicate just what the records in question were.
In 1865 a new line of investigation of records is recorded. On April 10, on motion the Worshipful Master was authorized to appoint a committee of three to correspond with the Masonic Historical Society of Connecticut, for the purpose of obtaining from that body the original records of the early Proceedings of this Lodge now in their Archives.
On July 3, the committee on procuring original records of American Union Lodge from this Connecticut Society, reported verbally that they had applied for the same, and had received in reply a printed copy of the early history of Masonry in Connecticut, which included a copy of the original minutes of American Union Lodge during the Revolutionary war. In the light of present day knowledge, that must have been a copy of the first Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, published in 1859, to which reference is made on page 3.
On October 30, 1865, Brother Geo. T. Hovey, Worshipful Master, reported that he had succeeded in recovering a portion of the ancient records and papers of the Lodge.
On November 11, 1867, Brother Cooper moved the appointment of a committee to examine the records and documents of the Lodge from the earliest possible period of its history, and obtain such additional historical facts from the older members as do not appear on record, arrange the same for preservation, and collate therefrom a brief history. This motion was adopted and Brothers Cooper and Winchester were appointed a committee, with the addition of the Worshipful Master by the special desire of the Lodge. The report of this committee was not made a matter of record, and progress was apparently slow.
Just two years following 1867, on November 15, the Lodge was informed that the ancient or first book of record of American Union Lodge No. 1, was in the possession of Brother John D. Caldwell, Grand Secretary. Thereupon the Lodge resolved that its Secretary should write Brother Caldwell and request him to forward said minutes to the Secretary of American Union, without delay, by express, at the expense of the Lodge. The following reply came from Bro. Caldwell:
"Please convey my compliments to the Brethren of a Lodge of so much historic interest as yours, and the history of which I have long desired to write, and whom I would like to accommodate. Please state definitely your wishes, and the information on which your request is founded."
Thereupon "the Secretary was directed to place said communication on file, and answer the same, stating how the Lodge had obtained the information relative to the ancient minutes, and why the Lodge claimed them as its property."
The first recorded visit of the Grand Secretary to American Union Lodge, occurred on June 1, 1857, when Brother John D. Caldwell was its guest. No special comments were recorded by the Secretary, other than that he "made a few very interesting remarks." This occasion is of importance, however, as the beginning. of similar visits in after years of the various officials filling this position, who in each instance paid due respect to the notable service of this Lodge in Ohio Freemasonry.
Contact of American Union Lodge with Robert Morris, the noted Masonic scholar and poet of Kentucky, began in 1859. On June 16 of this year, the Secretary was authorized "to send for one number of Bro. Rob. Morris's Masonic Counterfeit Detector,' " whatever that may have been. The author has been unable to learn anything further of such a publication of which Bro. Morris was author, for it is not listed with his voluminous writings.
On December 20, 1859, the Lodge notes receiving from Brother Morris ,a file of the American Freemason, for 1856, which contained a copy of the original minutes of American Union Lodge, from its organization in Roxbury, Mass., 1776, to 1779. This material was recorded as received, "and ordered to be preserved in our minute book." In going over these minutes for 1859, or thereabouts however, no further information was found rela tive to this subject, an oversight no doubt of the Secretary.
A Master's Carpet became a subject for the consideration of the Lodge as early as 1818 when a new one was bought. In the session of Lodge in 1860, a new carpet must have been necessary, for on December 27, that year, it is recorded that Brother Conner volunteered to paint a Master's Carpet if the Lodge would furnish the canvas for that purpose. Brother George T. Hovey, a relatively new member, moved that the Steward buy the canvas, which motion met with favor.
The examination of members in open Lodge following initiation, was an important step forward, and so far as the records show, this was not attempted until October 9, 1862, when Brother Maynard was examined in the degree conferred. If such is the fact, then this custom has now been established in American Union Lodge for the past 70 years.
The1 laying over of petitions for initiation, was due to action of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1864. On January 9, 1865, the following communication was received from the office of the Grand Secretary:
"Petitions for initiation or for membership shall be presented at stated meetings only, and lie over from one stated meeting to another. All balloting for the degrees or membership shall be had at stated meetings, provided that nothing in this section shall be so construed as to prevent a Lodge from conferring either of the degrees upon a candidate so balloted for, at a special meeting appointed by the Lodge or W. M. at the Stated Meeting at which such ballot was had."
A black book for recording expelled Masons, was brought up for consideration by the Secretary on January 9, 1865. He had requested authority to purchase a new Minute book, and on this occasion also expressed a desire for a black book, which was granted.
A trial for selling intoxicants took place in the Lodge in 1865, which is referred to here with some detail as of special importance. The reader is reminded that in 1817 American Union Lodge officially made it a matter of record, that this Lodge believed in temperance, and regarded alcoholic drinks as injurious to health and public welfare. In view of this attitude of the Lodge, it is not strange that members guilty of intoxication, or of selling intoxicants, should come before it for trial. For many years the Lodge from time to time had members brought before it, where charges were preferred by some Brother, while the one charged with guilt submitted his defense if he so desired. Some declined to appear for trial, while others fought to prevent suspension or expulsion, as the case might be.
This attitude of American Union Lodge preceded any action of the sort by Grand Lodge of Ohio. Section 60 of the Code of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, states that "Each Subordinate Lodge possesses the power, and it shall take cognizance of the conduct of Brethren within its jurisdiction, and~reprimand or suspend or expel from the privileges of the Order any Brother who shall, upon trial, be found guilty of un-masonic conduct."
Paragraph 6 of Section 60 of the Code, states that "What constitutes un-masonic conduct in a member of a Lodge is a question that is purely Masonic, and one into the merits of which a court of law will not enter." (Proc. of 1890, p.70)
On October 30, 1865, the following charge was made against Bro. J. Gardner Hall, a member of American Union Lodge.
Charge: Un-masonic conduct.
"Specification 1. In this, that the said J. Gardner Hall is the proprietor, owner or keeper of a shop or has an interest therein, wherein intoxicating liquors are retailed and sold, on Sunday and other days, to persons of intemperate habits, minors and other persons, to be drank, and drank on the premises, contrary to the laws of the good State of Ohio, the principles of Masonry and a well ordered community, whereby the habits of society are demoralized and the good name and fair fame of the institution of Masonry brought into contempt.
"Specification 2. In this, that on or about the 4th day of July, 1865, said J. Gardner Hall did, either himself or by an agent, give or sell to John Lightfritz, a person known to be addicted to habits of intemperance, a glass or glasses of intoxicating liquors, which were drank on the premises, contrary to the statutes of the State of Ohio, and the principles, good name and fair fame of Masonry.
"Specification 3. Tn this, that on or about the 30th day of October, 1865, and sundry other times, the said J. Gardner Hall did, either himself personally, or by an agent, sell intoxicating liquor to one James Babcock, a minor, and to sundry other persons, which were drank on the premises, in violation of the laws of Ohio, and the principles of Masonry, whereby the good name of the institution is brought into contempt before the public.
Respectfully submitted his
Moses x Smith mark"
Mr. Hall being present, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Following the action of the defendant, the Worshipful Master appointed the next Stated Meeting of the Lodge to be held on Monday evening, November 27, for the trial of the accused. On this date the trial took place, after which the members were requested to vote upon the case, when the ballot showed 19 white and 28 black balls had been cast. On the subject of penalty, he was indefinitely suspended. It is interesting to note that the defendant carried his case before the Grand Lodge, which reversed the decision of American Union No. 1.
A real Masonic Temple for Marietta came from a conception in 1867. On June 10, a provisional committee brought forward the desirability of constructing a real Masonic Temple in Marietta. With this in view, it was recommended that a corporation be formed under the title American Union Masonic Temple Association of Marietta, Ohio. Capital stock $30,000 consisting of 1500 shares of $20.00 par value each. The advice was given the Brethren, that several Masonic bodies and families subscribe liberally, and other citizens also. For each share subscribed, 2 2 per cent was to be paid at the time of completion of the organization, and 2 2 per cent thereafter quarterly. As soon as the paid installments and interest amount to $12,000, building is to be commenced, and completed as soon as possible. This report was received and adopted. Promissory notes due this body were ordered to be entered as subscriptions by this Lodge.
On July 15, the committee reported progress, and stated the Charter had been obtained. The Temple committee was then discharged, and a new committee of three was by vote to be appointed to receive subscriptions. On August 12 the books were reported ready to receive memberships on which occasion subscriptions were made for 290 shares.
The necessity for a Low Twelve Bell in time became apparent, and on July 15, 1867, a representative of a firm dealing in such bells made a proposition to supply one on very favorable terms, which they had the privilege of returning if unsatisfactory. This offer was accepted, and no doubt the bell was received in due season.
A music club was reported to the Lodge on January 6, 1868, as being organized. Nine names had already been obtained of members who pledged themselves to meet the Lodge organist, Brother J. E. Gilman, for practice once a week. This was a fine step forward, and it should have been crowned with success. Except by a limited few, very little singing is generally heard in American Lodges.
A purchase, of collars and aprons is dated
May 4, 1868, on the minutes. A committee was appointed to purchase
new collars and aprons for the officers, and also 50 lambskin
aprons, plainly trimmed. It is interesting to note that collars
are very rarely seen among the officers in Ohio Masonic Lodges
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